—by Anna on January 2, 2019—
My beloved sister,
I visited the dragon café this weekend. It was a lovely day with the sky dotted with white clouds and barbels. The barbels started their migration to the southern lands today, so many were flying overhead, their fat bellies bouncing, their wings barely keeping them aloft. I’m surprised their species has survived this long! Their long pointy bills are their only source of protection. The night before it had rained so the cobblestone roads of Garvelle were slippery and left the air with a chill. I wrapped myself with my cloak and donned the amulet you gave my last birthday. I walked carefully to my destination admiring the carpentry of the many tightly packed buildings. It’s a beautiful city, much bigger than our small farming community. Each home is made of dark wood, absent of windows; instead there are simply square holes to let the air in. At first, I found this very strange and unsafe, but quickly discovered the law officials have quippels in their service!
There’s no need for safety measures if you have quippels roaming your streets! I unfortunately had a run in with one of them; I had found someone’s wallet and trying to locate the owner, but they found me first, assuming I was the thief! They started shouting and before I could blink, a policeman and a quippel were there. I have only ever seen a quippel in books, but believe me, the pictures do not do them justice! They are huge, black beasts, covered in muscles and thick fur, snarling with the most hideous teeth. Their red eyes pierce your very soul, freezing you to your spot. The officer even rides them! He sits on this horrible creature while it prowls around the city, sniffing out danger. The owner pointed at me and the quippel lurched at me, snarling. I fell over screaming and it stood over me growling. The police officer snatched the wallet out of my hand and gave it to the owner. As soon as the quippel got off me, I explained to the officer the situation and the owner realized he had a gigantic hole in his pocket when he tried to replace his wallet. He and the officer laughed the incident off, but I was nearly frightened out of my skin! It took nearly an hour to calm down!
But I digress.
The day after that horrible incident I went to the café. It was positively exquisite. I walked in and was greeted by the strong smell of coffee and the beautiful sound of violin. The counters and columns were carved from a red wood, with swirls and pretty little scenes of parties and dancing. I ordered a small cup of tea. Each drink is infused with the essence of a dragon scale, naturally harvested of course. The scales fall off the dragons and the owners gather those. My drink was infused with a purple dragon scale, which is known for its calming qualities! It was served in a small, wooden cup, the steam curling off was slightly purple. I sat down in one of the booths, enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains. I start my journey to cross them tomorrow, in the early dawn. My guide will meet me at my hotel and from there, gather some others coming with us. I look forward to beginning my trip to the kingdom in the sky, but it will take a long time before I reach my destination. I miss you and hopefully I will see you there one day.